Is MBBS an Undergraduate or Postgraduate Degree?

When it comes to medical education, there is often confusion about the classification of the MBBS degree. Many aspiring medical students and their families wonder whether MBBS is considered an undergraduate (UG) or a postgraduate (PG) degree. This blog aims to clarify the nature of the MBBS degree, its significance in the medical education pathway, and what follows after its completion.

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Understanding MBBS

MBBS stands for Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery. It is the primary medical degree awarded to students who have completed their basic medical education. The degree name itself indicates that it is a bachelor’s degree, thus placing it in the category of undergraduate education.

The Significance of MBBS

The MBBS degree is fundamental for anyone wishing to pursue a career in medicine. It provides the essential knowledge and clinical skills required to practice medicine safely and effectively. During the MBBS program, students undergo rigorous training in various medical disciplines, including anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, pharmacology, and community medicine, among others.

MBBS: An Undergraduate Degree

  • Undergraduate Status: MBBS is fundamentally an undergraduate degree. It is the first step for students who wish to pursue a career in medicine. Typically, students enter an MBBS program after completing their higher secondary education (equivalent to 12th grade in many countries).
  • Duration and Curriculum: The duration of an MBBS program varies by country but generally spans five to six years, including one year of mandatory internship or clinical rotations. The curriculum covers basic medical sciences, clinical skills, and hands-on practice in various medical fields.
  • Entry Requirements: Admission to an MBBS program requires passing entrance exams, such as the NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) in India, and meeting the educational prerequisites set by medical schools.

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The Pathway After MBBS

After obtaining an MBBS degree, graduates have several pathways they can pursue. Many opt to enter clinical practice, working as general practitioners or junior doctors in hospitals. Others may choose to specialize further by pursuing postgraduate studies, such as MD (Doctor of Medicine) or MS (Master of Surgery) programs, which allow them to become specialists in specific fields of medicine. Additionally, some graduates may engage in medical research or take on roles in public health, healthcare administration, or medical education. While MBBS is an undergraduate degree, it is essential to recognize that becoming a fully qualified and specialized doctor involves further education and training. Here’s what typically follows after earning an MBBS degree:

Postgraduate Specialization

  • MD/MS Degrees: After completing an MBBS degree, graduates often pursue postgraduate (PG) degrees like Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Master of Surgery (MS). These degrees allow doctors to specialize in specific areas of medicine or surgery.
  • Entrance Exams for PG Courses: To enroll in a PG program, MBBS graduates must pass entrance examinations such as NEET-PG in India or the USMLE in the United States.
  • Duration and Training: PG programs usually last three years and include extensive theoretical and practical training in the chosen specialty. Successful completion of these programs is necessary for further career advancement and specialization.

Super-Specialization and Fellowships

  • DM/MCh Degrees: Some doctors opt for further specialization through super-specialty courses like Doctorate of Medicine (DM) or Master of Chirurgiae (MCh). These programs provide advanced training in highly specialized fields such as cardiology, neurology, or surgical oncology.
  • Fellowships: Additional training through fellowships is also an option for gaining expertise in sub-specialties and acquiring cutting-edge skills.

Professional Licensure and Practice

  • Licensing Exams: Depending on the country, medical graduates must pass licensing exams to practice medicine legally. For instance, in India, graduates must register with the Medical Council of India (MCI), while in the US, they need to pass the USMLE.
  • Continuous Medical Education: To maintain their medical licenses and stay updated with advancements in medicine, doctors must engage in continuous medical education (CME) throughout their careers.


MBBS is unequivocally an undergraduate degree, serving as the foundational step in the journey to becoming a doctor. However, the pathway to medical practice and specialization is extensive and involves further postgraduate education, rigorous training, and continuous professional development. Understanding the nature of the MBBS degree and the subsequent steps can help aspiring medical students and their families navigate the complex but rewarding field of medicine. The specializations allow doctors to become experts in specific areas of medicine. Additionally, continuous medical education and attending workshops and seminars are crucial for staying updated with the latest advancements in the medical field. This structured and demanding process ensures that doctors are well-equipped to provide the highest standard of care to their patients.

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Is MBBS considered an undergraduate degree?

Yes, MBBS is an undergraduate degree that serves as the first step in medical education.

What does MBBS stand for?

MBBS stands for Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery.

How long does it take to complete an MBBS degree?

The duration of an MBBS program typically ranges from five to six years, including a mandatory internship.

What are the prerequisites for enrolling in an MBBS program?

Students must complete their higher secondary education and pass entrance exams like NEET in India.

What comes after completing an MBBS degree?

After MBBS, graduates can pursue postgraduate degrees like MD or MS to specialize in specific medical fields.

Are there super-specialty courses available after PG degrees?

Yes, doctors can further specialize through super-specialty courses like DM or MCh.

Do MBBS graduates need to pass licensing exams?

Yes, graduates must pass licensing exams to practice medicine legally in their respective countries.

What is the role of continuous medical education (CME)?

CME is essential for doctors to maintain their licenses and stay updated with medical advancements.

Can international students pursue MBBS in India?

Yes, international students can pursue MBBS in India, provided they meet the eligibility criteria and pass entrance exams.

What are the career prospects after completing MBBS?

Career prospects include pursuing specialization, engaging in clinical practice, research, teaching, and healthcare administration.